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Angel, by Alex Kurtagić
An alt-right classic for 2023
I can’t believe the one and only Alex Kurtagić released a brand new book, his second novel, without any advertising or publicity, and pulled a Beyoncé surprise album at the end of 2022. It was worth the wait, considering his first novel, Mister, was released in 2009 by his self-publishing name, Iron Sky Publishing. Somehow along the way, the name transformed into “Spardabach Publishing.” Kurtagić’s new novel, Angel, costs $53 in paperback and $74 in hardcover, and that’s not even counting shipping!
This is a very large book, weighing in at 2.76 pounds, and at a novel’s length of over 1000 pages! I don’t even know what the word count is, but assumingly so, it must be over 500,000 words! That makes Angel as long as Atlas Shrugged, War & Peace, and Les Miserables!
Even inside the pages, Kurtagić attempts to create a book, design-wise, that feels like it’s been left on the shelf for over a decade. Look at his attention to calligraphy!
The opening sentence begins with a big beautiful letter “S,” the same way Spongebob Squarepants wrote the word “The” to begin his homework assignment.
Angel is a surprise in and of itself. The novel describes itself as a romantic tragedy of the self-titled protagonist, Angel, a helpless young man who falls for an American woman during Christmas break. Once she goes back to college, she is transformed into a vile self-destructive creature. But Angel is in love! And he writes poetry! It’s up to him to save her from her decadence. Angel travels to America and falls prey to all the unusual characters he refuses to acknowledge as a part of the problem with the modern world.
Where to even begin? I started reading this novel, and I am nowhere finished with it. But I can spoil it just a bit for context and to entice you to buy a copy before it goes out of print.
The novel begins with a snarky opening sentence. “The word could’ve been tweeted by a bird.” Not an actual bird, but a pun related to Twitter and how the novel, or any long-form prose, is downplayed as technology progresses. As if the novel itself could have been Tweeted online and then taken the form of a 1000-page art piece with detailed art by the writer himself. The novel becomes an art object to collect and preserve than a snippet of data that is read online, and forgotten while the reader moves on to the next. Is Kurtagić talking about his public disappearance?
Kurtagić is highly influenced by Wyndham Lewis. Lewis both wrote novels and created art for themes. Lewis also admired the reactionary modernist current against the state. Kurtagić juggles music, writing, and art all at the same time. This is hard to accomplish, as an individual can only excel in one category. Kurtagić started with black metal, and slowly transitioned into far-right commentary. By 2009, he wrote Mister, his first novel, as a critique against liberalism. I bought a copy in 2010 and unfortunately didn’t finish it.
Kurtagić published his art in many volumes of far-right books. My favorite piece personally is his cover for the 2012 edition of Madison Grant’s The Passing of The Great Race, with a foreword by none other than Jared Taylor, with his name printed on the front cover. The monkey people are funny.
Kurtagić also spoke at American Renaissance in 2012. His speech was about “the culture war.” By defending the concept of the West, one is defending liberalism, and thus an error in the entire project of a race. If the white man dies, he can be born again with a new identity. If one is merely against something in opposition to an identity, no one can create original works of art. Neutral art can go beyond politics, and art itself will reflect upon a new culture or a new identity. While the political left is about transhumanism and escaping the human body, a political “right” would be about creation and defining oneself with nature. Kurtagić said, “Culture defines politics and not the other way around; We must win the culture before we can win elections.”
Sounds like an outdated ruse for 2012. A decade later, we are still haunted by “the culture war” fad, and it’s still not working. Kayne West is talking about “The Jews,” trans advocates are pretending to be far-right, and that subculture is the rage. Subculture against subculture is not the answer, but exactly what the neoliberal capitalist world wants. That is, more isolated and hostile consumer preferences keep everyone divided in irony without any form of sincerity. A new economy is being formed around grifting, where it’s not just about profits in command, but as well as nepotism, and the abuse of being on every single platform, as a result of exploitation. In other words, as the far-right becomes friendly with “allies” or “fellow travelers” that share liberal, egalitarian, or transhumanist viewpoints, they succumb to that power and become liberal. Put simply, the “culture war” or “metapolitical” idealism advocated by white nationalist publications, like Counter-Currents, is indeed, a scam.
To best put it in the words of Dr. Gabriel Rockhill,1
“…The theoretical practice is not simply kind of what one does as an intellectual, but more specifically, how one's actions as an intellectual are situated within the social totality. And so much of the approach to intellectual history, unfortunately, is idealist through and through. Meaning that it thinks that it's ideas that drive history and that the reason that you have someone like [Slavoj] Žižek is that he's responding to Althusser and Lacan, who are responding to Marx and Freud, and you tell these idealist histories, in which there are ideas in the abstract and intellectuals responding to intellectuals. The problem with that is that that's not actually how intellectual history functions. Because intellectual history is part of a larger social totality that is driving the production of certain types of ideas and trying to destroy or eliminate the production circulation of other types of ideas. And so, what we need to do is look at the intellectual practice of figures like Žižek or some of the others that we're talking about, but situate them within a materialist social totality, so that we analyze the forces that have produced the figures who are producing the ideas that are so widely circulated…”
Kurtagić has since distanced himself from “extreme politics.” And a simple Google Search can bring up shitlib attacks on his character from whitewashed blog sites. Other bloggers, like Brett Stevens, continue to associate with the far-right while hanging on with the metal subculture. I’m surprised that Stevens and Kurtagić haven’t collaborated, considering that both subcultures are associated with the same interests they love. Nonetheless, Rockhill is correct that there is a larger “social totality” beyond the pettiness of which white people belong at a hardcore basement show in bumfuck Columbus, Ohio. And far from this high school drama and failed optics of yesteryear, Angel still packs a punch to the reader with its vividly detailed narration.
The first chapter opens up with Angel struggling to find his words. Constantly, he is embarrassed about himself and insecure about his presence. He shudders with his words and is afraid about the outcome. And always outcome is always against him. It feels all too real with most young men who have to suffer through a society that hates them for being polite. For a bit, I thought of Daniel Handler’s A Series of Unfortunate Events, where the protagonists of the story go through tragedy and horror in a steampunk universe. Angel has that same vibe if only we see it through the art direction of Kurtagić and an additional movie direction by Henry Selick. The narrative is fast and cartoony at times, but it has a solid impact on the senses. The second chapter throws Angel into a classroom with liberal federal agents and all that comes with it. Do I need to explain more?
Angel spills into the philosophy of Kurtagić. The obstacles Angel must face are all advocates of egalitarianism, and the smallest critique of them leads Angel into trouble. I’m still in the middle of all this calamity, and Kurtagić might as well produced the Infinite Jest or Gravity’s Rainbow for the illiterate generation hooked onto smartphone screens. It’s a fantastic read, and I see a future movie being made out of this script in the next decade or so.
https://www.youtube.com/live/8xEmvJ5NVlQ. (At 16:03).